Elements of Excellence: Dr. Jeffery Talbot
There is unique synergy that exists between cutting-edge research and quality teaching. In the Raabe College of Pharmacy, students and faculty benefit from having adopted a teacher-scholar academic model.
Faculty members are rewarded for excellence in the classroom but are expected to be professionally active in scholarship through research and/or maintaining a clinical practice site. This model allows the faculty member to focus on the importance of teaching while staying current within their discipline.
In the laboratory, Dr. Jeffery Talbot is discovering new drug therapies that could affect the lives of millions one day. And in the classroom, he is making a difference in the lives of his pharmacy students on a daily basis.
An assistant professor of pharmacology, Talbot has two passions in his professional life – teaching and research. “I’ve always felt that teaching in the classroom makes me a better researcher and that being a researcher makes me a better teacher.”
Talbot came to Ohio Northern University five years ago – giving up a research fellowship at the University of Michigan – because the Raabe College of Pharmacy enables him to pursue both his passions in equal measure. “At Ohio Northern, I achieve the satisfaction and enjoyment of interacting with students in the classroom while still being able to engage in cutting-edge research.”
Growing up, Talbot became inspired to teach by observing his mother, a high school English and history teacher who dedicated her life to quality teaching. “She is a magnificent teacher inside and outside the classroom.”
Following in his mother’s footsteps, Talbot has mastered the ability to make learning enjoyable. His teaching philosophy is that relevance increases retention. “If I can help my students see how a concept applies to them in real life, they are more likely to understand and remember,” he says.
Watching his students develop into competent pharmacists is his greatest reward. “When they conquer a difficult topic successfully, a transformation takes place. They develop a new level of confidence and you can see the change in their whole disposition.”
When Talbot isn’t teaching students in class, he is most often found in another type of classroom, his laboratory. Along with collaborators from the University of Michigan, Talbot and his research team of ONU pharmacy students are blazing a trail to a more targeted and effective treatment for depression and anxiety, work that was featured in the June 2010 issue of the top-tier medical journal Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.
Talbot is optimistic that his research could lead to a new class of drugs capable of inhibiting RGS proteins, which would more selectively target the antidepressant signal produced by 5-HT1a receptors. “Eventually, we hope this work will lead to improved therapies for depression and anxiety, both in terms of efficacy and treatment outcomes.”